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June 1, 2003     Jewish News
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June 1,2003 Following the Torah Southeastern Virginia Jewish News Helping the needy - The Jews of Argentina By Rabbi Arthur Ruberg take care of each other, so as to make it possible for every Jew to have enough to eat. If you want to know how that all got started, if you want to know when we learned the principles that all Jews are family and, all Jews are responsible for each other, just look back. Look all the way back. Look to the words of the Torah. Look, in fact, to this week's Torah portion. [This weeks Torah portion tells us that] if another Jew, if a relative, if a member of the tribe gets into a situation where he doesn't have enough; where he can't feed his family, where he's short on cloth- ing, where he can't maintain a home...there is a whole series of steps to do on his behalf. Don't take advantage of him. Lend him money. Don't charge interest. Let him live with you. Give him food. Take him into your home until he gets on his feet again. Some of the regulations are technical and mirror the legal system of the time. But the general gist is clear as can be- don't allow one of our own to stay poor. Do something about it. Bet- tea" yet, help him so he can do something about it. To save a fellow Jew from dan- ger, the Jew through history would go to any lengths. The guiding principle is: we are all responsible for each other. I, like many of us, can trace my ancestry to Eastern Europe, to Rus- sia and Poland. Part of the lore in my family, is how my grandparents and their siblings came over here from Europe. It's a story that was repeated time and again in many Jewish immigrant families a hun- dred years ago. One or two broth- ers in a family would come over from Russia, often on a cattle boat, never on a luxury liner. Once here, they would work hard to get enough money, first to make ends meet themselves, and then to bring over a wife and children and a brother or sister. Then the brother and sister would come and in turn they would work hard to bring over a few more members of the mish- pachah. No one came over here rich...everyone is family, or extend- ed family; we Jews are obligated to treat every Jew as extended family; our job is to see that when it comes to the necessities of life, everyone has enough. Today, very few of us have actu- al relatives in Eastern Europe any more. Most of what was once Eastern European Jewry either live here now or in Israel. And of course, unfortunately much of Eastern European Jewry was deci- mated in the Holocaust. But there are pockets of hungry Jews. There are significant numbers of Jews who ,really don't have enough to eat. Many live in Rumania and Bulgaria and those lesser-known countries of Eastern Europe. And Following is a portion of a ser- mon delivered by Rabbi Arthur Ruberg of Congregation Beth El on May 17 during the Shabbat service celebrating Kyle Addenbrook's Bar Mitzvah. Kyle is the son of Viki and Tom Addenbrook and the grandson of Philip (of blessed memory) and Syliva Belkov. There's a stereotype out there. Like most stereotypes, it's not true. But it's a stereotype that too many believe about the Jewish people. Sometimes we Jews even believe it. The stereotype is that Jews are never poor. That Jews never go hungry; that all Jews are rich. Look at Jewish history, of course, and you know it's not true. How did it become the custom for us to eat Chicken Friday night? Because for centuries, the average Jew only had enough chicken or meat to eat one day a week; so we saved it for our holiest day of the week. Shabbat Was our day to eat like kings. The rest of the week we were paupers. There have been and there still are poor Jews. But if there is any truth to the stereotype that Jews never go hun- gry, that Jews always have enough...maybe it comes from the fact that over the years we Jews don't let other Jews go hungry. We look out for each other, we always many live in, of all places, Argenti- na... There are approximately 200,000 Jews in Argentina today. But in recent years, Argentina has fallen on hard economic times. Politically and economically the country is a mess. 20% of Argenti- na's Jews live below the poverty line in an already poor country. Health care insurance is unaflord- able and the public health system is inadequate. Medication is virtually impossible to get. And worst of all, there simply isn't enough food to go around. Last year I heard a rabbi from Argentina who was brought here by the Jewish Federa- tion. She told us how her syna- gogue was being used as a food distribution center, and there were lines around the block to get in. For many Argentinian Jews, the only hot meal they get is not at their Shahbos table but at their local social assistance center. It is because of the crisis situa- tion in communities like Argentina that our local Federation has started an Emergency Hunger Relief Campaign. Its goal is to raise the money so that the food centers of Argentina have the food to give to all those who line up to eat. The money for this hunger relief drive is going for food and for food alone. I know Argentinian Jewry. It is a proud community. It will bounce back. It will weather the economic storm. But for now, its people need help. Particularly, they need food. We here in America have the resources. We have the means to support them. Our local Federation committed itself to raise $100,000 to go directly to Hunger Relief. They are more than half way there, but not "all the way. So the leadership has asked the rabbis to help, and I am glad to participate and to ask for your help. So if you haven't done so, please write out a check 'after Shabbat to the United Jewish Federation and designate it for the emergency food campaign. Over the years, we've given much time and money to help Israel defend itseff; and rightly so...we need to do the same when it comes to putting food in the mouths of fellow Jews around the world, ff we know this wezfft's Torah portion and if we choose to live by it, we will find the nmey7 "'If your kinsman is in bad straits." Those same words repeated three different times in today's Parashah. We Jews do have kinsman in Argentina around the world who are in di straits. It is our responsibility and obligation to lift them up to a life of dignity. It's the mes,mge of the Tor. It's the right course of action for us today. To make a donation call Dan Lepow at 671-1600. Awards, speakers highlight annual Jewish Education Night program On Monday evening May 19, 50 people attended the annual ewish Education Night program Which was held at the JCC as a co- Sponsored eflbrt of both the JCC and the UJPT. Immediate outgoing chairperson of JEC (Jewish Educa- tion Council) Rabbi Michael Panitz welcomed everyone. He Spoke of the continuing positive .nature of all the Jewish educators in OUr community coming together each year to honor Jewish learning. N Rabbi Ephraim Adler of the orfolk Area Community Kollel elivered a meaningful D'Var rah. Dr. Arthur Kaplan, longtime COmmunity leader, brought greet- lags from the United Jewish Feder- on and Carol Kranitz, Executive tce-President of the JCC, brought greetings from the JCC. EdMifiarn Brunn Ruberg, Jewish . Ucation Professional at the JCC, etr,uced the speaker for keynote _ evening who was Nachama kolnik Moskowitz, the Director of e Curriculum Resources and e nior Director of the Jewish Edu- ation Center of Cleveland, Ohio. Her remarks were directed to the educators in the audience. She spoke of various points to consider seriously in our teaching. Nachama's professionalism and experience were very clear to all present that evening. Various awards were then pre- sented. MrsMannah Baer, long- time and honored educator in the community, presented a Chai award to Vivian Fomlan for 18 years of service to Jewish Educa- tion in this community. Then Gail Bachman and Virginia Rosen each received recognition for 36 years, double Chai years, of service as Jewish Educators. Theft spiritual leader at Ohef Sholom, Rabbi Michael Joseph, wrote a note of tribute to them, which was read in his absence. Youth Awards to young people who give volunteer service to their synagogue/school were recog- nized. Kathryn Morton, Education and Cultural Arts Director of Tem- ple Israel presented these awards. The young people honored were: Lindsey Adler, Ariane Arcilla, Nachama Skolnik Moskowitz, keynote speaker Brian Bachman, Rachel Baltuch, Ben Barrel, Jacob Bartel, Jennifer Cramer, Elizabeth Gregory, Carley Gordon, Chris Halissy, Aaron Hay- wood, Jennifer Higgins, Leah Katz, Yoni Kutler, Natalie Mahgerefteh, Ben Panitz, Emily Panitz, Robin Rashti, Corey Siegel, Loft Stein, and Rachel Zeiler. Each school in the community Miriam Brunn Ruberg, JCC Education Professional was then recognized by Ina Mir- man Leiderman, Former Vice- Chair of JEC and Alene Jo Kauf- man, Director of Early Chikthood at the Hebrew Academy. The prin- cipal or a representative of each ,school was called up. The schools are mentioned are: Bnai Israel Congregation, Congregation Beth Chaverim, Congregation Beth El, Carol Kranitz, JCC Eecutive VP Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Ohef Shotom Temple, Portmmuth United Religious School, Shalom Children's Center. Temple Emanuel, Temple Israel/ Kempsville Conservative Syna- gogue, Torah Day School and United Hebrew School. ONIINUIO Ott  118